Ratish Tagde is a violinist from Mumbai and is a Company Secretary. He combines a very unique aspect of a musician whereby he works as a Company Secretary (CS) but keeps his keen interest in classical music. His passion for music made him study music along with pursuing his professional career as a Company Secretary.
We had a telephonic interview with Ratish.
Q1. Tell us about your childhood, education, and how did you start.
I was born in a family with musical background. My father and grandfather have been in the stream of Indian classical music. From the time of my grand-pa, people with big names like Gangubai Hangal, Mahutai Kulkarni, and Hirabai Barodekar used to visit our house even when I was not born then; my father tells me this. My grand-pa had founded Sarswati Sangeet Maha-Vidhyalaya in Indore in 1922. Basically, we are from Indore. So music is in our dynasty. Then my father took forward this Sangeet Maha-Vidhyalaya; my father has been head of the music department in Dengi College. My father has been associated with Gwalior ghrana; we are from Gwalior gharana. Though Indore gharana is different which was made famous by Ustad Amir Khan Sahib. So, in that way music ‘Surs’ have been into my ears since beginning.
Then my father started teaching me music. Firstly I learnt Tabla. In Tabla, I got national talent scholarship and did my bachelor in it. By the age of 17-18, I switched to violin. Since then I’ve been learning violin music from my uncle Dr. Ramesh Tagde and many other elder people whose violin recitals inspire me much. In the mean time, my father advised me that though music is in our dynasty still I should take some education. Because education is very essential today. So I did my company secretary course. Now, I am practicing company secretary in Mumbai; I did my LLB also. I’ve done Sangeet Vid from Khairagarh University equal to post graduate degree; Sangeet Parveen from Prayag Sangeet Sameetee, Allahabad; MA in violin from Devi Ahilya University, Indore, and I got gold medal in this. I passed CS in 1990.
Q2. Which field, CS or violin do you do for your financial needs?
If you analyse my track record you will find that CS is my bread and butter. CS is a very responsible profession and very time consuming. With the blessings of my elders, I’ve continued my music alongside my CS. You can say that I’ve two professions. Sometimes it happens that the chairman of a company is talking about the restructuring of company on one phone and on the other phone someone like Vishwa Mohan Ji or Mr. Bhattacharya Ji is talking about some Ragas and all that. I am enjoying my life to the greatest extent. I enjoy music in the concerts and try to bring some new themes in music.
Q3. Did you shift from Tabla to Violin on your father’s advice?
See, like Ustad Alla Rakha Khan Sahib has rhythm in his house, so all his three sons Zakir, Taufiq, and Fazal have gone in rhythm, and with Yashraj Ji both Durga and Sharang Dev Singh went to music direction. With us my grandfather and my father being vocalist and my uncle has learnt music from pandit VG Jog, my father advised me that Sur is there in our family but the study of Tal is also very important. So, I get an added advantage while performing because of good rhythm sense. So it was due that one day I had to go to some melody instrument.
Q4. How do you balance yourself between yourself and music?
Whatever stress I bear in CS, gets away with my music.
Q5. The concerts which you did overseas, which one have you done more frequently?
We cannot afford two-three month’s tours overseas because of my CS. We did a fusion concerts in Malaysia, Singapore and Jakarta which was very wonderful.
Q6. Any memorable incident there?
I tell you a very interesting incident. We went to Ethiopia–it is in North Africa and it is not very financially developed country. In the concert there, somebody brought an African drum; very big drums. We played along with those drummers. It was so wonderful. It was spontaneous without any preparations.
Q7. Are you teaching other people?
I cannot spare time to teach others because of my profession. One should not compromise with the quality. My father takes classes at home. And if somebody comes to learn violin, I teach him. I want to teach. After 10 years from now I will try to do so.
Q8. Is our next generation going to say that we are from Bombay gharana, because all music personalities are based in Mumbai or nearby.
The Bombay gharana concept that you mentioned has entered in my mind. This term Bombay gharana, I’m listening to it first time. There is a reason behind it why music is getting concentrating in Mumbai: Bombay is a magic city. This city can feed anyone. Bombay will take care of any profession which comes to it. If you see musically, Bombay has no place in it. It has developed according to the Westerns culture. If you study Pune or Dharwar, they are more close to singing. In North, instrument is more. History is repeating itself. My daughter is 15 year old. She does not listen to classical music much but I don’t shy saying this. Her taste is changing towards Sufi music more now. If you see film-music today, you will find 1-2 Sufi songs in every film; so trend is changing. People tend to forget today’s songs in six months or one year. The taste of old songs not found today.
Q9. Do you have any experience with Bollywood?
No, I’ve no connection with Bollywood. As an artist, I’ve no right-look for Bollywood. But if I get music direction in any film then it’s a different thing.